Evangelical activist’s connections are key health-policy players in the Trump administration

Evangelical activist Shepherd Smith has spent more than three decades cultivating relationships with leading AIDS researchers and policymakers to promote abstinence-only sex education and other programs. Those connections now could influence government programs and funding within the Trump administration.

Among the most prominent: Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smith says he enthusiastically urged administration officials to pick his longtime friend and associate, who now oversees one of the agencies that fund the multibillion-dollar international prevention and treatment program known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

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